Unscary Detective/Mystery books in "exotic" or "outdoors" locations.
December 26, 2016 11:16 AM   Subscribe

ISO mystery/detective authors where the protagonist is mostly not in danger. Bonus if it happens in an exotic (to me - from urban US) locale, or in a nature setting. Must be NOT SCARY! (Previous likes/dislikes inside). I've seen the other threads on this, but can't tell from that which ones are scadn which not.


Nevada Barr's Anna Pidgeon series (before they devolved into putting Anna in constant danger and actually took place in her Ranger roles, sigh).
John Burdett's Detective Jitpleecheep series.
Timothy Hallinan's Poke Rafferty Series (but too scary!).
Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire series.
Dr. Siri series.
Lake Tahoe based detective (can't remember the name).
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series (a little scary but ok)
Dick Francis
Tony Hillerman

Didn't Like:
Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency Series - too short/simple
Sherlock Holmes/Agatha Christie style
J.A. Jance - simplistic writing (the one I tried anyway)

posted by bluesky78987 to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Detective Conan/Case Closed? Not a book, but a manga series, though.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 11:20 AM on December 26, 2016

Is Singapore exotic enough? Then try The Feng Shui Detective, a light-hearted mystery. (There's a few more in the series, but I haven't read them.)
posted by Quietgal at 11:37 AM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

You might try Louise Penny's Armand Gamache series. It's set in small-town Quebec, little to no 'on-screen' violence - focusing more on the investigation and the relationships between the characters.
posted by northernish at 12:21 PM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

You might enjoy the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman. Each one set in a different foreign country. Mrs Pollifax joins the CIA as an agent in her 60s so it's full of charming moments where she is underestimated/ignored as an older women and then comes out on top.
posted by eglenner at 12:45 PM on December 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'll make my near-annual plump for Lora Roberts.

All seven of the ones I've read are set in Palo Alto, which may not at first glance seem exotic, but this is pre-diginati, and is indeed another country.
posted by jamjam at 12:59 PM on December 26, 2016

There are lots of detective series set in Europe. Let me see how may I can remember offhand.

The Inspector Alvarez Series by Roderick Jeffries set in Majorca.
Marshal Guarnaccia series by MAGDALEN NABB set in Florence
Commissaire Dupin series by Jean-Luc Bannalec set in Brittany.
Inspector Salvo Montalbano by Andrea Camilleri set in Sicily.
Commissario Guido Brunetti by Donna Leon set in Venice.
Inspector Verlaque. series by Mary Lou Longworth set in Provence.

For an older series, there is nothing like the Maigret books by Georges Simenon set in Paris. In fact, I'd like to be able to call the Brasserie Dauphine and have them send over some beer and sandwiches.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:15 PM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seconding Louise Penny (Three Pines series) (also known as Armand Gamache series)
Also try:
Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway series)

William Kent Krueger
(Cork O'connor series similar to Walt Longmire series)

Ngaio Marsh (Roderick Allen series)
posted by BoscosMom at 1:17 PM on December 26, 2016

My two favorites are currently Donna Leon's Brunetti books, set in Venice and Jan Willem van der Wetering's Grijpstra and De Gier books (from the 70s mostly) , set in Amsterdam. They both do a lot of musing, though, which is not to everyone's taste. More traditional mystery authors you might like are Margaret Maron and Sharyn McCrumb. They're very American although if the South is exotic to you, you're good. Do you like historicals at all? I recommend Ellis Peters, who wrote the medieval Brother Cadfael mysteries - she also wrote some "contemporary" ones (50s/60s) that are great too. And Lindsey Davis - her Marcus Didius Falco mysteries set in Ancient Rome are just a delight.
posted by mygothlaundry at 2:11 PM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I liked the Erast Fandorin novels by Boris Akunin which are detective stories set in 19th century Russia.
posted by Lluvia at 2:22 PM on December 26, 2016

Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri series is set in India

I like the Ava Lee series, set in Toronto and Shanghai. But I think there is some violence.
posted by Ftsqg at 2:56 PM on December 26, 2016

Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series takes place almost entirely in Alaska and is a delight. Her Liam Campbell series is entirely in Alaska and is also great.
posted by notjustthefish at 2:59 PM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, a series of detective novels by Barry Hughart, has three books: Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone, and Eight Skilled Gentlemen. They are very witty and set in China.
posted by ball00000ns at 4:09 PM on December 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters might work for you. Set in Egypt in the late 1800s / early 1900s. Quite a bit of humor, and if I recall correctly they're toward the "not scary" end of the spectrum. Well written (I think, anyway).
posted by madmethods at 5:50 PM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

Fantastic answers! Lots of best answers today! Thanks.
posted by bluesky78987 at 6:40 PM on December 26, 2016

Certainly not cozy, a couple of series set in Russia have implied violence, but most of the actual violence is off-screen, so to speak:

The Arkady Renko novels of Martin Cruz Smith, beginning with Gorky Park.
The Inspector Porfiry Petrovich Rostnikov mysteries by Stuart M. Kaminsky

Another that's a be different

The Inspector O mysteries by James Church, set in North Korea.
posted by SemiSalt at 7:31 AM on December 27, 2016

Tana French's novels, set in Dublin.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 5:56 PM on December 27, 2016

I was coming here to suggest Tana French too. The Likeness is my favorite, but they are all good.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:40 PM on December 28, 2016

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